Many retirees find themselves alone, whether by divorce or loss. In an era of technology, dating seems somewhat foreign. Instead of social gatherings, online apps have become the new norm. There are several online dating services and apps available if you’re hoping to meet new people and establish a relationship during retirement. Typically, you will be required to establish a profile with photos and some information about your hobbies and personality. After completing your profile, you may search for possible mates and connect with others through the site.
Online dating services provide the opportunity to discover a new partner, but there are associated hazards. Scammers may create a profile and attempt to take advantage of others on the site, particularly those who appear to be extremely trustworthy. Since older citizens are commonly seen to be financially secure, they are a common target for criminals.
To prevent online dating scams as a senior, you can:
- Protect your personal information.
- Understand the economic hazards.
- Consider local relationships.
- Meet in suitable circumstances.
- Make sure you’re not a target.
- Investigate questionable behavior.
- Secure Your Private Information
When meeting someone online, take caution not to reveal personal information. The University of Illinois-Springfield’s Beth Ribarsky, a professor of interpersonal communication, advises never sharing personal information before a meeting. “Scammers thrive on being able to reach their victims in many ways.” Use robust passwords and keep your social media profiles clear of allusions to your pet’s name, your home’s square footage, and your financial information.
If someone tries to advance swiftly, this may be a sign that you should retreat. Scammers rely on individuals becoming swept up in a whirlwind of pleasant emotions, explains Ribarsky. They may go swiftly to very intimate material and chats. They may shower you with “I love you” and effusive flattery to manipulate your emotions. Consider it a red flag if you hear this praise followed by request for your personal information.
Aware of the Financial Dangers
The sweetheart scam, also known as the romance scam, happens when a con artist meets a victim online, develops a relationship with them, and then requests money. Excessive flattery or tenderness early in the relationship in an attempt to influence your emotions is a classic symptom of a sweetheart scam, writes Emma McGowan, a senior writer for Avast, an online worldwide privacy and security organization. They frequently have terrible grammar or spelling, refuse to converse on video, and provide several reasons they cannot meet in person. The person may request a gift card or a temporary advance. Additionally, they may insist that you deliver checks to a certain location.
Consider your local connections.
If you reside in New Hampshire and converse with a person who claims to reside in California, the connection may get difficult. The time and distance of a long-distance connection provide the ideal cover a con artist could ask for, says Eric Resnick, creator of ProfileHelper.com, an Orlando-based online dating profile writing business. Generally, it will be impossible to meet in person immediately after speaking over the phone. That means they have all the time they need to achieve what they want from you without fear of being discovered, adds Resnick.
Consider your location while online dating. Resnick adds that a decent rule of thumb is not to search for matches more away than you are prepared to travel twice each week. This will not only set you up for better possible connections, but it will also protect you from anyone utilizing a scam centered on long-distance dating.
Meet in Proper Settings
Keeping initial interactions on the online dating site might safeguard you. The instant you move away from the dating site, the danger of receiving a virus or other malware increases dramatically, adds Resnick. This is a warning signal if someone calls you and quickly wants to shift the conversation to texting or your private email account.
When organizing an in-person gathering, seek a public location. Agree to meet in a coffee shop, a bustling restaurant, or a public location. Inform someone you trust of your location and duration of stay.
Ensure that you are not a target.
In the same way, criminals seek homes with open windows, insufficient exterior lighting, or no alarm system; dating fraudsters target the most vulnerable individuals. They search for persons who talk about their generosity and how they want to fill a void in their lives or move on after the loss of a marriage, says Resnick. Anything that makes you appear weak might raise your chance of being a victim of fraud.
Avoid mentioning loneliness when establishing an initial connection with a possible mate. Make your profile optimistic and forward-looking without any references to your past relationships. It not only makes you more appealing to genuine matches but also less appealing to fraudsters, explains Resnick.
Investigate Suspicious Activity
If something seems off with online dating, conduct your investigation. Examine the individual’s other public accounts, such as their social media handles, to determine whether they are legit. Examine their LinkedIn profile photo and Facebook page to determine whether they match their online dating profile. Individuals with no social media presence, friends, or followers may use false identities.
Get assistance for financial fraud from others. McGowan believes you should block the scammer immediately if you suspect you have been scammed. Tell someone you trust about the fraud and report it to the online dating app or social media platform where the scammer initially contacted you, the sentence reads.